2020 has been brutal on the Walt Disney Company. They reported losses of nearly $5 billion last quarter alone. Revenues fell 40% to $11.7 billion, “while diluted earnings per share for the quarter decreased 94% to 8 cents, falling from $1.34 in the prior-year period.” This is all due to the current public health crisis, which has been wreaking havoc across the world since the beginning of this year. Disney theme parks shut down in March, and have slowly started to open their doors again. However, the Anaheim, California park is still shut down with no timeline for reopening as of this writing.
The entertainment business as a whole has been hit hard, but Disney is seeing it worse than most, due to their reliance on live events and experiences. Some of their biggest movies were to have hit movie theaters earlier this summer, but were not able to, due to theaters still being shut down in North America. They just announced that Mulan will be available to stream on Disney+ next month for an additional $30. It will be interesting to see if the experiment works in their favor.
In turn, Mulan will be a blow to the movie theaters who are also losing out on millions of dollars. Disney+ has been the one bright spot for the company, thanks in part to Hamilton and Beyonce’s Black is King, which led to a spike in subscribers earlier this summer. However, that isn’t going to be enough to keep profits coming for the rest of the year. Disney is trying to get all of its theme parks back up and running, which will help to bring in some profits.
Disney theme park revenue from last quarter was only $983 million, which is close to the analyst estimate of $1.05 billion. Last year, the parks were able to bring in $6.58 billion. Walt Disney World in Florida recently opened its doors again, albeit with smaller crowd sizes to practice social distancing. Tickets have been selling out and people seem to be pretty excited about being able to visit the theme park again. For Disney, and anybody, some profit is better than none, especially during these uncertain times.
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for the Walt Disney Company. After Mulan, Black Widow and the Eternals movie were going to be strong box office contenders. Black Widow is still on schedule to hit theaters later this year, while Eternals has been moved to early next year. The success of Mulan will more than likely dictate what Disney decides to do with the standalone Natasha Romanoff movie. As for the California theme park, it remains unclear when they will be able to open, especially with cases spiking in California. Variety was one of the first outlets to report on Disney’s massive third quarter losses.